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Patriots Daily: Who Will Be New England’s Backup Center?

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New England Patriots center Jake Andrews (67) prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The New England Patriots currently have 91 players under contract and will need to get that number down to 53 by the time the regular season arrives. Longtime team captain David Andrews recently signed an extension to keep him with the Patriots through the 2025 season. He has one of those roster spots locked up. But New England needs a backup center on the roster as well.

David Andrews played 1,051 offensive snaps in 2023. That was 200 more than any other player on the team. The Patriots hope he can be just as durable in 2024, his tenth NFL season, but they need to have a contingency plan as well. New England has 18 offensive linemen on their 90-man roster. When the 53-man roster is finalized, at least one other lineman must be capable of playing center. What are the options?

Jake Andrews

New England selected Jake Andrews in the fourth round (No. 107 overall) of the 2023 NFL Draft. Normally a pick that high would not be in jeopardy of being cut this soon in their NFL career. However, with the changes to the Patriots front office, there is less attachment to players picked before Eliot Wolf took control. Andrews can play guard as well. He appeared in 16 games as a rookie, starting Week 18 at left guard. Positional versatility is always useful to help earn a backup spot along the offensive line.

Nick Leverett

Leverett signed with the Patriots this offseason. So, unlike Jake Andrews, he was an Eliot Wolf signing. Nick Leverett played guard almost exclusively throughout his three-year NFL career in Tampa Bay. However, Leverett did play one game at center for the Buccaneers in 2022. More importantly, his position is listed as “G/C” on the official Patriots website. Expect Leverett to at least get a look at center in training camp/preseason for New England.

Layden Robinson

The Patriots fourth-round pick in 2024 exclusively played guard for Texas A&M. But when Robinson was coming out of high school he was recruited as a center. Including him in this group is merely speculation, as he was drafted as a guard and is listed as such on New England’s roster. Robinson will be on the 53-man roster regardless, but the possibility exists that he will get some snaps at center, especially if he’s not fighting for a starting spot at guard.

Charles Turner III

An undrafted free agent from LSU, Turner was a surprise pick for the initial 53-man roster projection. However, he is also the first change to that list. With Jake Andrews and Leverett having positional versatility, New England keeping one or both veterans over a center-only like Turner makes sense. As a UDFA, Turner would have the easiest time clearing waivers and winding up on the Patriots practice squad.

So, who will be David Andrews’ backup when the 53-man roster is released? As many as three of these four candidates could make the cut. All have a few months to convince the Patriots’ brain trust that their production, potential, and versatility are worth keeping them around. Stay tuned.

Also in today’s Patriots Daily:

Football Fun Fact of the Day

Tom Brady has played the most games for the Patriots, including the postseason, before playing a game against the Patriots (326).

The record for most games played against the Patriots before playing a game for them belongs to Shaun Ellis (23). The other two players to play 20+ games against the Patriots before playing for them are Jeff Dellenbach (21) and Fred Smerlas (20).

Shaun Ellis, courtesy of WikiCommons

Post of the Day

The New England Patriots present Jerod Mayo and Drake Maye mic’d up on the first day of OTAs:

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